Tom Girtin (1913–94), the last of the artist’s direct descendants, carried on the work of his father Thomas Girtin (1874–1960), adding to and refining the collection that was gifted to him around 1938. Tom did not publish extensively on his ancestor, but he sought to make the collection better known through a series of exhibitions, including significant shows at the Graves Art Gallery, Sheffield, in 1953 (Exhibitions: Sheffield, 1953), the Royal Academy in 1962 (Exhibitions: London, 1962a) and Reading Museum and Art Gallery in 1969 (Exhibitions: Reading, 1969). The Girtin Archive, held by the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum, also contains a good deal of the material he assembled relating to the artist’s travels, particularly the trip to Paris in 1801–2. The photographs that he took of the sites visited by Girtin in Britain also provide much useful information, and the copious and informative annotations on the comprehensive photographic record included in the archive suggest that he perhaps had in mind an updated version of his father’s catalogue. Tom sold the bulk of his collection to the American collector Paul Mellon (1907–99) in 1970, including more than a hundred watercolours and drawings by or attributed to Girtin. These were in turn gifted to the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, which Mellon built and funded to house his extraordinary collection. Tom Girtin retained a small group of his ancestor’s watercolours, the choicest of which were allocated to public galleries in lieu of inheritance tax at his death, including An Upland Landscape, Identified as Storiths Heights (TG1686) and St Vincent’s Rocks and the Avon Gorge (TG1735).
1800 - 1801
An Upland Landscape, Identified as Storiths Heights, near Bolton Abbey
St Vincent’s Rocks and the Avon Gorge